December 20, 2016
Technology Vision through an Oracle lens: Digital trust
By: Alain Vermeulen and Ruben Buijs

This article is the fifth in a series on the Accenture Technology Vision for Oracle. The series explores five key trends discussed in the vision: Intelligent Automation, Liquid Workforce, Platform Economy, Predictable Disruption and Digital Trust. This article focuses on the Digital Trust trend, and the use of Oracle technology in adapting to that trend.

In 2014, Apple’s iCloud was hacked, and numerous private photos of celebrities were exposed online. In 2015, the extramarital affair website Ashley Madison experienced a breach in which personal user data was leaked to the public. And more recently, an employee of a small energy supplier based in The Hague leaked the personal data of 2 million of the company’s customers.

Such events reduce trust in a company—and once trust is broken, it takes a lot of time, money and effort to rebuild it. But trust is key in business, and in a networked world, the need for “digital trust” is becoming critical.

What is digital trust?

Trust has always been important in business. You do not buy products from a supplier you do not trust. Today, however, trust needs to extend to the digital world. You can build a brilliant platform, but if it doesn’t protect data, a lack of trust will make it difficult to attract customers, suppliers and third parties.

Boosting digital trust

What can you do to ensure digital trust? Consider these five key practices:

  • Adopt centralized security. It’s important that sensitive data be encrypted, and to manage the authorizations for that data, you can use Identity and Access Management (IAM). But how do you ensure that IAM is correctly configured when some applications are in the cloud and others are on premise? The answer is centrally configured security, managed through the cloud as Identity and Asset Management as a Service or (IAMaaS). You can also use the Velocity Identity Management Framework Functionality, which makes implementation simpler and more secure while also reducing the time needed to set up IAM.

  • Identify weak points in your database. Databases are attractive targets for hackers. Managing the security of a database can be cumbersome and complicated. Often, there are weak points, such as a default password that was not changed during the configuration of the database. Oracle helps identify a range of database weak points with Oracle Database Security Health Check. The Health Check quickly delivers reports that indicate where security issues exist and provides recommendations on how to resolve them.

  • Pay attention to ethics. Digital trust depends not only secure systems, but also on human behavior. If systems are secure but employees are releasing sensitive data, trust is impaired. Companies can organize information sessions, establish ethical codes for data usage and make employees aware of the ethical aspects of data usage. For example, you can implement data-sharing policies (what data can be shared with whom?), bring-your-own-device policies (are employees allowed to connect to the company network using personal laptops?) and mobile-device policies (don’t leave device unattended, require use of a pin code).

  • Inform your customers about your data privacy policy. In order to build trust, you need to let your customers know how you will utilize their data. Give a clear indication about what data is being collected, how it is protected, what you intend to do with it and how customers can opt out of sharing their data. It is important to let customers know about sophisticated security procedures that are in place. You might, for example, send an email to inform them about a security update that you have just implemented. Also, consider rewarding customers who provide data. The music service Spotify, for example, uses collected demographic data and musical preferences to make song suggestions to the customer.

  • Actively protect sensitive data. Although you have protected and encrypted your data, that doesn’t mean you’re done. Data grows rapidly, and so, too, do the numbers of people who require access to that data. A Verizon study found that 60 percent of data leaks can be traced back to errors by system administrators. Accounts that require access to sensitive data must be monitored, managed and controlled on an ongoing basis. To help, Oracle provides the Oracle Privileged Account manager.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out that customers and partners will typically notice efforts to build digital trust. After the iCloud account hack, Apple took strong measures to make its platform more secure; increased transparency regarding its data protection; and improved the security of its platform. This resulted in renewed trust in the platform from customers, to the point where Apple has been able to add new services such as Apple Pay, HealthKit and HomeKit.

Building digital trust takes time and effort. But it is a fundamental requirement for doing business. Thus, investing in digital trust will likely lead to significant benefits.

Does your company operate with a platform or participate in the platform economy? What have you learned? What advice would you have for others? Share your thoughts with Ruben and Alain at or Ruben at

This blog originally appeared in Dutch.

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